I entered college knowing I wanted to work in healthcare. I enjoyed science and wanted to help people in the most personal way. However, nursing never really crossed my mind. I thought I was going to go to medical school to become a pediatrician. I took a lot of pre-med courses but hated them all. I dreaded them. Class and lab weren’t enjoyable, and they made me question my abilities. I knew college wasn’t going to be easy. I knew that to reach your dreams you were going to have to work hard, push yourself, and put yourself through courses that are unbearable. However, I strongly believe that you have to like the journey you’re on just a little. I saw my friends in nursing school going to clinical in their uniforms, interacting with real patients, and taking courses that seemed much more interesting to me. I was jealous. I played around with the idea of nursing but knew transferring to the school as a sophomore meant staying for another whole year. I wouldn’t graduate with my friends if I stayed for five years. I hated thinking about it as I would miss out on so much. Yet, I went to a transfer informational session and applied anyway.
My mom is a psychiatric nurse practitioner, which undoubtedly made it easier to choose nursing school. She always talked about her job but for some reason I never gave it much thought until I finally gave nursing the respect it deserved. However, I want to emphasize that you do not have to have family in the medical field to be interested or excel in it. Your parents or siblings may begin to pave your path for you, but I think it’s much more authentic if you choose it yourself.
I had the choice of graduating with my friends and then applying to a nursing second-degree program instead. However, the programs were generally over twelve months so it would take longer overall to get my BSN. Both options had their flaws but transferring sooner than later made more sense. I applied and was wait listed. At this point, I was already on a student advisory board, joined a rec sport, conducting undergrad research, and was a weekly hospital volunteer. There was a few nursing pre-reqs I needed to complete and once I sent my grades, I was finally admitted. The next three years were everything I hoped and expected college to be. The courses were difficult and challenging. However, I enjoyed studying for them (especially thanks to my now successful lawyer best friend who studied with me every night). I loved learning about L&D, pediatrics, psych, etc. It also helped that our professors were out of this world and had clinical at such an amazing hospital. This is not to say that I didn’t struggle through pharmacology or cry at clinical at least once…You don’t have to love every step of the journey you’re on, but you do have to want to stay on it.
Despite the hassle of another application, another year of studying for tests, and not getting to graduate or celebrate with my friends, I made the right choice. I would choose it all over again too. It doesn’t matter how long it takes you to reach your goals as long as you get there. Don’t ever let your age or the timeline you set in your head stop you. It will be worth it every single time.